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AV Rant #491: Bagging on Yamaha

June 23rd, 2016 No comments

PrintThank you to our Listeners of the Week, Antoine and Justin for their donations, and Justin B. for letting SVS know his dual PB-1000 subwoofer purchase was thanks to our recommendation!

In the news, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ‘Ultimate Edition’ will be the first 100GB Ultra HD Blu-ray releaseLogitech is beta testing Harmony Remote integration with Amazon Echo, and AV Rant Listener Antoine forwarded confirmation that Samsung won’t have 3D on any of its 2016 TVs. Bill C. found a $74 100-inch motorized projection screen that we think is worth checking out. Jeb B. thinks HDR in Forza Horizon 3 sounds interesting. Philip B. is mildly interested in the Soundlazer VR Kickstarter. And Jim D. wants us to add Dark Matter and Orange is the New Black, and House of Cards to our list of recommended TV shows.

Will T. wants to know the best way to position and integrate two or three subwoofers in his L-shaped room using Yamaha’s YPAO. Robert F. asks about auto-setup for Atmos speaker positions, dual subs sounding quieter than a single sub, positioning and using a ported sub and a sealed sub together, and whether acoustic panels mounted up high are worth it. And Justin B. asks many, many questions, including: making a damage claim with APC, dual subwoofer choices under $1000 for a large room (Outlaw Audio Ultra-X12 when they go on sale), stacking subwoofers, sealed vs. ported, getting a silent noise floor, connecting alternate Front L/R speakers, bookshelf vs. tower speakers, Room EQ Wizard Help Section, using a PC Software Equalizer APO, MiniDSP choices, Surround and overhead speaker placement, SpoonFlower “Quilting Weight” Cotton fabricfor acoustic panels, acoustically transparent material measurements, and our guess on 4K HDR TV pricing later this year. Whew!

Harvie W. asks why auto-on stopped working when he added a second subwoofer, and he wants to know how to fix it. Dave wants to know how to get his Yamaha Processor to display that it’s really using Dolby Atmos. Ted M. asks about room analysis software, and whether we agree with acoustician Bob Hodas that EQ is only the last 5% of room tuning. And Cesar D. wants to play one source in surround sound while playing a different source through headphones all from his Emotiva XMC-1 Processor.

Michael R. asks about PC audio output settings and connecting a PC to two displays and two sound systems. Infinite Gary asks about “green push”, and whether a 4K projector could ever equal OLED picture clarity. Randy C. gets us to recommend Visual Apex Outdoor Theater equipment and Behringer PA speakers with a Behringer 502 mixer, or the Pyle Pro 1237UB PA Speakers with remote control. And Joseph S. wants to know why one of his subwoofers stops playing when he sets his Yamaha AV Receiver to stereo listening mode.

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AV Rant #490: SVS Prime Bookshelf Speaker Review

June 16th, 2016 1 comment

PrintThank you to our Listeners of the Week: Joseph, Terry, and Rick for their generous donations! Tom reviews the SVS Prime Bookshelf speakers with some comments on the SVS Ultra Bookshelf speakers, too. Check the bottom of the post for pictures of the SVS Prime and Ultra Bookshelf speakers.

In the news, Jonathan F. sent us Plex’ blog post explaining that the NVidia Shield TV is now a full Plex Server. Tyler F. sent us several links out of InfoComm all about projectors such as the: Optoma ultra-short throw with HDR, Panasonic 27,000 lumen 3-chip laser, Acer low noise V9800, and Digital Projection 3-chip laser. Projector Central’s laser projector list also details many more models. E3 brought us announcements of the new Xbox One S with an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive, Microsoft dropping Xbox One TV DVR support, Sony confirming the 4K Playstation Neo, and Playstation VR launching October 13 for $399. Vizio launched nine SoundBars with Google Cast. Nathan D. forwarded Denon & Marantz’ new AV Receiver model announcements that include more 11 speaker models and built-in HEOS. And Abby Savage is featured in an SVS Artist & Producer Systems Q&A.

Brock R. gets us to compare Denon HEOS vs. Yamaha MusicCast for whole house audio. Mowar wonders if the Emotiva BasX A-300 amplifier is worth its higher price tag over the Monoprice 2-Channel Amplifier. And Infinite Gary asks us to clarify Audioholics’ How To Set Up an AV Receiver video, and wonders how Dolby Vision on Ultra HD Blu-ray will play out.

Nick B. has altered his basement theater plans. He gets our thoughts on the new layout, as well as our suggestions to use Focal Chorus IC 706 V in-ceiling speakers, and Ray Coronado’s suggestion of this handy Riser Height Calculator. Johnny D. gets us to clarify our comments about dual subwoofer placement. And John M. gets our exhaustive list of recommended TV shows, including: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Americans, Mr. Robot, Fargo, 12 Monkeys, Person of Interest, The 100, Penny Dreadful, Bates Motel, Hannibal, Nikita, Salem, Awake, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine from Rob; and, White Collar, Hustle, Leverage, Brickleberry, The League, Archer, Farscape, Attack on Titan, and Legend of Korra from Tom.

Bob wants an amplifier for his Chromecast Audio, and we suggest the Lepai LP7498E Class D Amplifier. Sean’s theater build is progressing nicely, and we point him to Projector Central’s Projection Calculator to help him nail down the placement. And Matthew G. wants to upgrade his speakers and asks if a deal on Polk speakers is worth it. We recommend taking advantage of the free two-way shipping offered by SVS, Aperion Audio, and Ascend Acoustics to audition their speakers instead. We also tackle his questions about Audyssey and THX Listening Modes.

Ted M. asks about Audyssey’s effectiveness with dual subwoofers. Michael R. gets some further clarification about his HTPC build. Will T. has a subwoofer placement question and asks about Monoprice, Dayton Audio, and Silver Ticket speakers. And Fred T. asks for carpet suggestions for his theater, as well as soundproofing ideas for the floor, so we recommend the Serenity Mat from Sound Proofing Company.

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AV Rant #489: Criticizing HDR

June 10th, 2016 No comments

PrintTom is away this week, so Producer Austen joins Rob H. at a very unusual recording time for us.

Our Listeners of the Week are Fred, Mike, and Jason S. for their donations, as well as: Moanis for taking advantage of Ascend Acoustics’ Summer Sale and letting them know he heard about their speakers from AV Rant; Adriano for letting SVS know his dual SB-2000 subwoofer purchase was because of our recommendation; and Michael I. for contacting GiK Acoustics to let them know he bought their acoustic panels because of AV Rant!

In the News, Integra’s DRX Series AV Receivers include MQA audio decoding, and Schiit Audio explicitly rejects MQA. Bill C. shared Consumer Reports’ “5 Songs to Help You Buy a Great Sound System”. And Nathan D. noticed Oppo’s Ultra HD Blu-ray player has an OLED display, so hopefully the rest of the player isn’t too far behind.

Brian R. solved his IR and RF remote issues with a combination of our advice and his own hard work and observations. Moanis asks about Ascend vs. Aperion, and how high acoustic panels should go on a wall. Infinite Gary wonders about HDR calibration, screen ratio optical illusions, and plasma TV lifespans. And John W. has us list some other podcasts, including: AV Forums Podcast, Dolby Institute, Emotiva Podcasts, HDTV & Home Theater, and Home Theater Geeks.

Johnny D. wants advice to choose between a Denon AVR-X4200W or a Marantz SR6010. Jonathan F. asks us to discuss quotes pulled from Light Illusion’s critique of UHDTV, HDR, HLG & WCG, as well as HDTV Test’s “HDR is Too Dim for Daytime” article. He also asks about auto-setup crossover settings. And Karl R. asks about using an Amazon Echo Dot with his Sonos system, which might involve IFTTT.

Joseph S. wants to find a professional calibrator, so we point to THX Certified Installer Finder, ISF Dealer Locator, and AVS Forum ISF Calibrator Location Thread. Infinite Gary (again) asks about artificial color expansion, using multiple picture modes, adjusting color temperature, and HDR in the cinema vs. at home. And Mike F. wants new Center and Surround speakers and a subwoofer all for $900, so we recommend: Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE, NHT Super Series, or EMP Tek Impression Series speakers with an SVS PB-1000 subwoofer.

Ken M. asks us to compare SVS subwoofer models for his room and setup. Pieter J. has several questions about long wire and cable runs going into his renovation. And Michael R. wants a new HTPC, and we suggest having one built for him using the Tech Buyers Guru HTPC Guide.

Ted M. is still concerned about nailing down his speaker choices with concerns about dynamics, mid-bass slam, positioning, monopoles vs. di-poles, and future Atmos considerations. Jason S. has a new mysterious hum problem for us to tackle. And Michael I. wants to find the best value when it comes to room correction, as well as a way to recreate the tactile bass of a live music festival.

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AV Rant #488: Foreshadowing

June 2nd, 2016 2 comments

PrintOur Listeners of the Week are Andy and Derek for their donations, and Fabricio J. for letting SVS know he bought a PC-2000 subwoofer during their Outlet Store sale because of AV Rant!

In the news, Emotiva released details and pricing for their XMC-1 Processor Enhancements that add HDCP 2.2 and 7.2.4 Atmos and DTS:X decoding. And John M. sent us an article explaining Samsung’s plans to skip OLED TVs and focus on Quantum Dot QLED TVs instead.

Our own Producer Austen figured out just how much “a ton” of money really is. And Infinite Gary sent a link to the Dolby Institute Podcast Series that takes a behind-the-scenes look at movie sound artistry.

Robert F. is setting up 5.2.4 Atmos speakers and wants to know where to place them and what to call them. Craig Eggers from Dolby offers some Atmos setup tips. Robert also asks about using an older Receiver as an external amplifier, as well as wanting to double check some of Audyssey’s settings. Dorsel Fields on Facebook asks if there’s such a thing as “too much subwoofer” for his small room. We think a pair of SVS SB-1000 would be suitable. But for insanely deep extension, the HSU ULS-15 Mk2 is a high value choice.

Tyler F. has us revisit JVC’s projectors where Projector Reviews details WCG and HDR capabilities of the JVC DLA-X750R. We also discuss why we aren’t super excited for HDR projectors just yet. Justin B. found out a replacement Audyssey microphone would cost $25, but a power surge rendered his whole situation moot. Now he’s looking for an upgrade and asks about Yamaha vs. Marantz, YPAO vs. Audyssey, and 5.1 vs. Atmos. Justin also asks about setting up a one-man, 2-channel system for $1500. We recommend Magnepan MMG speakers, and HSU STF-2 subwoofer, a Slimline Marantz NR1506 Receiver, and possibly the Emotiva BasX A-300 amplifier in the future. Justin’s final questions are about Vandersteen speakers, and contacting Ascend Acoustics to visit their headquarters in San Clemente, California.

Led already has a pair of in-ceiling speakers and asks about expanding to Atmos. He wants a decent timbre match to his Martin Logan electrostatic speakers, and we go a little outside the box by suggesting Axiom Audio or RBH Sound. For inexpensive 2-channel amps, we recommend the Dayton APA100, Monoprice Stereo Amp, or Emotiva BasX Series. And we explain a bit about speaker wire lengths and gauge, frame interpolation processing in 120Hz TVs, surround sound upmixing, and Audio Return Channel (ARC).

Tony C. gets our thoughts on the best way to set up a 5.1.2 Atmos layout, as well as how to use some Audyssey MultEQ XT measurements to level match and integrate dual subwoofers. Ted M. has us recommend the TEAC HA-P50 Headphone Amplifier for his new Oppo PM-3, plus we talk about speaker positioning. And Josh A. read Tom’s Salk Sound Veracity HT2-TL Review and wants to know why Tom “slammed” Salk last week.

Gaylen is buying his son an Xbox, and it’s good timing: Microsoft just dropped the price on Xbox One consoles. David F.’s SVS PC12-NSD subwoofer got wet during a storm, but it wasn’t plugged in, so hopefully letting it dry and cleaning it will be enough. And we think Bob should get a Marantz SR7010 Receiver, but he’ll probably get the Marantz AV7702 Mk II Pre-Pro.

Nick B. has some clarifications about his basement room, and we describe how lens shift in projectors works. Adriano M. used JBL Pro speakers and QSC commercial grade amplifiers and wonders if it’s worth selling and replacing them. And Bill R. gets our recommendation for Yamaha Outdoor All-Weather Speakers. He also did a head-to-head comparison of the Focal Electra 1008 Be vs. the Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 speakers.

Everett L. could use AV Forums Audyssey Setup Tutorial plus a few extra pointers from us. And Ian E. wants better computer speakers, plus the ability to use his Definitive Technology Supercube 3 subwoofer, so our top recommendation goes to the AudioEngine A5+ Powered Speakers.

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AV Rant #487: Oh Gabe

May 26th, 2016 1 comment

Thank you to our Listeners of the Week: James C. for his donation and for putting our logo on the PVP iSound induction speaker; and Ash for updating our artwork!

In the News, Tom suggests trying Netflix’ Fast.com to gauge your download speeds. Karl R. sent the headline that Philips will launch their BDP-7301/7501 Ultra HD Blu-ray player in June for $399. Andy provided a heads up on Andrew Jones’ ELAC Uni-Fi self-powered speaker. And the announcement of the Yamaha RX-A60 Aventage Receiver lineup.

Herb from Cross-Spectrum Labs let us know that auto-setup microphones respond poorly in heat and humidity, so cooling and drying them can improve their performance. Mark M. suggests Anti-Fatigue Foam Mats make better subwoofer/speaker dampers than mousepads. And Infinite Gary found a retailer claiming to have “The World’s Best Home Cinema”.

Tyler H. wants to use an Amazon Echo Dot and some in-ceiling speakers without an always-on amp wasting power. We suggest a power-saving outlet, the Lepai LP7498E Class D amplifier, or the Dayton Audio APA100 with auto-sensing. Gabe M. clarified that lossy audio codecs use “perceptual coding” so that we hear as little difference as possible. And SteveTheGeek gets our recommendations for sealed headphones: the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, Sony MDR-7506, and Oppo PM-3.

Nick B. wants to change aspect ratios and screen sizes with 4-way masking. Carada Masquerade offers motorized 2-way masking, while Seymour AV Manual Masking and Electric Roll-down Masking is our top recommendation. Nick also asks about projector lens ratios, and we highly recommend using Projector Central’s Projection Calculator. We also discuss Nick’s plans for the layout of his basement.

Infinite Gary asks about separate horizontal and vertical sharpness controls. A CNET Sharpness article explains why you should deactivate any sharpness or edge enhancement. We also discuss deinterlacing, upconversion, and upscaling, the evolution of Blu-ray players, and whether to import European products.

John M. gets our thoughts on “ambience extraction”. Tim R. gets our suggestions for the BenQ HT2050 projector, Silver Ticket Screen, Marantz SR6010, Denon AVR-X4200W, or Yamaha RX-A2050 5.2.4 Receiver, and Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE, NHT SuperZero, EMP Tek, SVS Prime, ELAC Debut, or Focal Bird speakers, And Jonathan F. shared his thoughts on Audio Test Tracks.

Ash asks about Knauf EarthWool insulation. John B. found a story about electrical shocks from Cable TV coax. And Bill R. wants to compare the Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 and Focal Electra 1008 Be speakers.

Tyler F. asks about JVC projectors and their 4K and HDR capabilities. And Steven R. wants to add online capabilities to his 2-channel audio system. We recommend the Sonos Connect most highly, but also mention Google’s Chromecast Audio, NVidia Shield TV, and the JRiver Id as possible alternatives.

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